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<ul><li><p>UNES</p><p>CO </p><p>EOLS</p><p>S</p><p>SAMP</p><p>LE C</p><p>HAPT</p><p>ERS</p><p>WORLD CIVILIZATIONS AND HISTORY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Civilizational Analysis: A Paradigm in the Making - Johann P. Arnason </p><p>Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) </p><p>CIVILIZATIONAL ANALYSIS: A PARADIGM IN THE MAKING Johann P. Arnason La Trobe University, Australia Keywords: Civilization, Civilizations, Axial Age, Cultural Problematics, Political Cultures, Economic Institutions, Religions, Traditions, Identities Contents 1. Introduction 2. Classical Sources 3. Eisenstadt and the Axial Age 4. Civilization and Civilizations 5. Domains of Civilizational Analysis 6. Towards Modernity 7. Objections and Qualifications Glossary Bibliography Biographical Sketch Summary This chapter discusses the development of a theoretical framework for the comparative analysis of civilizations. A brief overview of pioneering contributions by classical sociologists is followed by more detailed comments on the late twentieth-century revival of civilizational theory, especially in the work of S. N. Eisenstadt. The project that emerges from classical and contemporary sources is best understood as a bridge between sociological theory and comparative history, and many aspects are still open to debate - hence the reference to a paradigm in the making. Eisenstadts approach, which has been central to all subsequent discussions, links a distinctive conceptual scheme centered on world-views and their translation into institutional patterns - to the interpretation of a particular historical period (the Axial Age, usually identified with the middle centuries of the last millennium BCE), as well as to a less developed conception of modernity as a new civilization. All these thematic foci call for closer examination. Discussions since the late 1970s have highlighted the originality and diversity of early civilizations, and thus opened up new perspectives on the background and context of transformations during the Axial Age. The traditional civilizations that grew out of these transformations can be analyzed as constellations of cultural, political and economic patterns; so far, the interconnections of the cultural and economic spheres have proved relatively easy to trace, whereas the civilizational aspects and dynamics of the economic sphere are more elusive. This tripartite model can also be used to clarify the civilizational status of modernity, but more detailed comparative studies of paths and patterns are needed to put this question into proper focus. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of objections to the civilizational approach; they are best met by developing a more precise and historically sensitive conceptual framework. </p></li><li><p>UNES</p><p>CO </p><p>EOLS</p><p>S</p><p>SAMP</p><p>LE C</p><p>HAPT</p><p>ERS</p><p>WORLD CIVILIZATIONS AND HISTORY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Civilizational Analysis: A Paradigm in the Making - Johann P. Arnason </p><p>Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) </p><p>1. Introduction The term civilizational analysis, used by Said Amir Arjomand and Edward Tiryakian for a representative collection of papers and now widely accepted by scholars in the field, is designed to stress the combination of theoretical and historical approaches to the comparative study of civilizations. More specifically, the focus is on the constitutive patterns and long-term dynamics of civilizations - understood as macro-cultural, macro-social and macro-historical units as well as on the question of their more or less active involvement in modern transformations. For these purposes, the notion of civilization must be defined in a way that lends itself to plural use; but when it comes to details, this concept turns out to be as contested as others of similar importance to the human sciences. A first signpost may, however, be suggested with reference to the historical background. All attempts to define, demarcate and classify civilizations in the plural take off from the major socio-cultural complexes of the Eurasian macro-region: the Western European, Byzantine, Islamic, Indian and East Asian worlds are the prime cases in point, even if civilizational analysts disagree on further distinctions and more precise boundaries in time and space. To note the most familiar examples, the chronological and geographical boundaries of Western European - or Western Christian - civilization are still a matter of dispute; it is no less debatable whether we should speak of one Indian civilization or a set of interrelated ones; and the question of civilizational unity or division within the East Asian region has been answered in very different ways, especially with regard to the relationship between China and Japan. In brief, the issues arising in these contexts reflect the history of European encounters with other parts of the Old World. Civilizational analysis, seen as a twentieth-century turn to systematic reflection on a long record of historical experiences, is by the same token critical of Eurocentric approaches to world history. If civilizations are set apart by distinctive world-views and institutional patterns, their ways of participating in and making sense of world history will also differ, and more comparative study of all these aspects is needed. A multi-civilizational conception of world history would be the most effective antidote to Eurocentrism, but its promise is also a reminder that the problem cannot be solved by quick fixes and prophetic gestures. The project of civilizational analysis, reactivated in the late twentieth century and increasingly recognized as a specific mode of social and historical inquiry, is best understood as a paradigm in the making; and although the main impulse came from sociologists critical of the restrictive assumptions that had blocked the development of their discipline, further progress is impossible without close and extensive cooperation, with historians, area specialists and scholars in other related fields. There is, in other words, an obvious need for a long-term interdisciplinary research program. The more visible cultural pluralism and multi-polar geopolitics of the post-Cold War era have no doubt helped to make out a good case for this project, but this historical constellation has also prompted ideological responses of a simplifying and alarmist kind, most evident in speculations about a clash of civilizations and a properly research-oriented model of civilizational analysis must take issue with these caricature versions. Samuel P. Huntingtons widely read book has been criticized for unsound empirical claims and overhasty prognoses, but for the present purposes, it is no less important to note that it does very little to clarify the conceptual foundations of </p></li><li><p>UNES</p><p>CO </p><p>EOLS</p><p>S</p><p>SAMP</p><p>LE C</p><p>HAPT</p><p>ERS</p><p>WORLD CIVILIZATIONS AND HISTORY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Civilizational Analysis: A Paradigm in the Making - Johann P. Arnason </p><p>Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) </p><p>civilizational theory, and nothing to distinguish or contextualize the different scholarly traditions on which it claims to draw. 2. Classical Sources Among such traditions, the contribution of classical sociology - elaborated in the first two decades of the twentieth century - stands out as particularly significant. If scholarship since the 1970s has - as suggested above reactivated an older trend, that applies primarily to this classical legacy. It had taken shape in two wholly separate contexts, French and German. On the French side, the Durkheimian school more specifically Emile Durkheim and Marcel Mauss - developed an explicit concept of civilizations in the plural, with a correspondingly clear-cut analytical focus. On the German side, Max Webers comparative analyses of major civilizational formations were less attentive to conceptual issues, but their substantive content is still significant enough to ensure their presence in contemporary debates. The absence of contact between these two innovative developments fits into a more general pattern (the mutual isolation of Durkheim and Weber is still a puzzle to historians of ideas), and it took much longer for the affinities to be noticed than on the level of more familiar sociological themes. Benjamin Nelson seems to have been the first to make the connection and show that the formations studied by Weber were civilizations in the Durkheimian sense. In a short text first published in 1913, Durkheim and Mauss proposed to distinguish civilizations from societies: the former were large-scale and long-term formations that could encompass multiple societies, both contemporary and successive. This move coincided with Durkheims systematic turn towards the sociology of religion, and the civilizational perspective reappears at the end of his most representative work on that subject. After a very detailed analysis of primitive religion, based on evidence from a whole group of societies, Durkheim draws theoretical conclusions and refers among other things - to a civilization as characterized by a system of basic concepts. In this way, a macro-cultural dimension is added to the macro-social one underlined in the earlier texts: patterns of meaning, articulated through or at least translatable into basic concepts, complement the large-scale and long-term social-historical frameworks, but more specific interrelations between the two levels are left unexamined. Mauss returned to the problematic of civilizations in the 1920s and explored it in several directions, but did not tackle it in a systematic fashion. As the influence of the Durkheimian school declined, its interest in civilizations was more thoroughly forgotten than the ideas that had contributed to the formation of sociology as a discipline. But in light of the rediscovery of civilizations, this part of the French sociological tradition (including some attempts to apply the ideas adumbrated by Durkheim and Mauss to comparative studies) appears as a pioneering approach to problems that are still under debate. One of its distinctive features is a very broad definition of the civilizational perspective: it encompasses prehistorical phases and stateless societies as well as the state- and city-centered literate cultures more commonly associated with the concept of civilization. There is no doubt that the latter usage, and the narrower definition more or less explicitly linked to it, has had the upper hand in civilizational studies, but it cannot be said that the issue has been settled. </p></li><li><p>UNES</p><p>CO </p><p>EOLS</p><p>S</p><p>SAMP</p><p>LE C</p><p>HAPT</p><p>ERS</p><p>WORLD CIVILIZATIONS AND HISTORY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Civilizational Analysis: A Paradigm in the Making - Johann P. Arnason </p><p>Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) </p><p>By contrast, Max Webers comparative studies focused on major Eurasian civilizations and their religious traditions. He did not use the concept of civilizations in the plural; his favorite term for the units of comparison was Kulturwelten, cultural worlds, but following Benjamin Nelson, this expression can to all intents and purposes be equated with the Durkheimian notion of civilizations. The term Kulturwelt recalls Webers early references to culture as a way of lending meaning and significance to the world (this is by implication a variable pattern), but there was no systematic clarification of that background. The comparative program did not grow directly out of Webers attempts to define the general orientations of social and cultural inquiry. Rather, the interest in other cultural worlds and their different historical trajectories was kindled by a very specific issue in comparative history. Webers concern with the historical forces and cultural sources that had enabled the Western breakthrough to modern capitalism led him to explore contrasts and parallels with the non-Western civilizations that had not experienced a similar transformation from within (not that capitalism as such was absent, but its distinctively modern and unprecedentedly dynamic version had not developed). The idea that Weber used for comparative analysis to isolate one decisive factor, present in the West but absent elsewhere (supposedly the radical branch of the Protestant Reformation), has been laid to rest by more adequate interpretations of his work The comparative turn broadened his perspectives on both sides. It became clear that modern Western capitalism was closely linked to a whole set of other transformative processes, preceding as well as contemporaneous, which Weber subsumed under the concept of rationalization. Interpreters of his work disagree on the contents and connotations of this term, and will probably continue to do so. It refers most obviously to the progress of formal organization and methodical procedures in all fields of social life; in the modern context, it relates most directly to the interconnected apparatuses (Weber uses metaphors like machine and mechanical cosmos) of capitalism, bureaucracy and organized science; but it should also be noted that according to Weber, the most momentous results of rationalization were inseparable from the non-rational - or trans-rational - belief that all things can be mastered through calculation. As for non-Western civilizations, Webers analyses of China and India covered a broad spectrum of cultural, political and economic trends, and allowed for distinctive rationalizing processes, even if they did not take the same overall direction as in the West. A planned work on Islamic civilization was never written; a detailed study of Ancient Judaism explored one major source of Western traditions, but Weber did not engage with the Greek source in the same way. The Weberian project, as transmitted to posterity, is unfinished and unequally developed, but neither obsolete in all respects nor imprisoned within an ideological universe of discourse. It reflects the severe early twentieth-century limitations of European knowledge and understanding of non-European civilizations, but it certainly does not - as its less informed critics have claimed deny the rationality, cultural originality or historicity of the other worlds in question. With regard to the debate on Eurocentrism and the various (sometimes counter-productive) ways of criticizing it, Webers position is ambiguous, and as such conducive to further debate. There is no denying the presence and influence of a strong Eurocentric strain in his thought, but it is no less true that some of his insights can now be seen as incipient correctives to the Eurocentric bias. In short, Webers work represents an earlier phase of civilizational </p></li><li><p>UNES</p><p>CO </p><p>EOLS</p><p>S</p><p>SAMP</p><p>LE C</p><p>HAPT</p><p>ERS</p><p>WORLD CIVILIZATIONS AND HISTORY OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Civilizational Analysis: A Paradigm in the Making - Johann P. Arnason </p><p>Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) </p><p>analysis, but remains relevant to the questions and perspectives of the new phase that began in the last quarter of the twentieth century. 3. Eisenstadt and the Axial Age This new phase is linked to a more general revival of interest in unsett...</p></li></ul>